Ross Moriarty, the Wales and Dragons No8, is battling to be fit for the Six Nations after contracting a virus at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Moriarty has lost weight and been unable to help his new club in the Guinness Pro 14 and European Challenge Cup where they still lead their pool despite a controversial 34-28 loss to Worcester Warriors which saw highly rated back rower Taine Basham sent off for a tip tackle.

With Basham facing a potentially lengthy ban, the loss of Moriarty will be keenly felt and Dean Ryan, the Dragons director of rugby, told RugbyPass the club will not take any chances with the British and Irish Lions No.8 who has suffered with a heavy cold, weight loss and chest infection leading to specialist examination of his symptoms.

They have concluded that Moriarty contracted a viral infection as a result of bad grazing he suffered on his forehead during a Wales training session in Japan.

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He played in the third place play-off defeat by New Zealand on November 1 – his 41st cap for Wales but no date can be given for his return to play. He will continue to be monitored with the Dragons needing ensure there is no danger of a recurrence of the debilitating problems that threaten Moriarty’s inclusion in the Wales Six Nations squad. It will be the first Six Nations squad named by Wayne Pivac who has taken over as Wales head coach from Warren Gatland and with Taulupe Faletau still out injured for Bath, the Welsh No8 options are limited.

Ryan said: “Ross has had a viral infection and we are not going to rush him back or give a date when he is going to play because we want to make sure that Ross has got over this infection. He has lost weight during this period and it is important to ensure that he is fully recovered before we think about him getting back.”

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Ryan was fuming after Basham was sent off by Italian referee Marius Mitrea who did not have the back-up of a television match official to review the tip tackle incident in the 19th minute. Ryan questioned the attitude of European Cup organisers to the competition by not using TMO technology. He said: “I do not think it was a red card and it was a rugby incident which was a penalty or at worst a yellow card. The referee kept on saying all day he didn’t have TMO and so why is he jumping to a red card? It was nowhere near a full tip and it didn’t merit a red card.

“I got contacted in the week by Joel Jugte about a player in our group who hasn’t even played in Europe. For the head of European referees to contact me about aspects( of our play) he finds concerning, I find incredible. Not one of those issues was penalised today. EPCR need to look at what they are trying to achieve with the Challenge Cup and I would say they have bigger issues to focus on than rather than looking at our players. It was a really good contest and the boys put in an incredible shift and I am so proud of our group of players. We were outstanding with a seven man scrum.”

Faletau, 29, broke his collar bone which ruled him out of the World Cup as he required surgery. “He’s getting there, we’ll build him back into the rugby programme sooner rather than later,” said Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper.”But there’s still no time frame determined for him.” Faletau, who has won 72 caps, has also broken his arm twice since joining Bath from the Dragons in 2016.

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